Facebook ads promoting website targeting Maria Walsh need to be investigated

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Facebook ads promoting website targeting Maria Walsh need to be investigated

Maria with her election campaign vehicle

Facebook ads promoting a website designed to target and discredit European Election candidate Maria Walsh on the grounds that she is an LGBTQI activist, need to be fully investigated, a Fine Gael Senator has said.

Tim Lombard, who sits on the Oireachtas Communications Committee, was responding to sponsored posts from an individual promoting a website that targets the Midlands North West candidate.

Fine Gael has contacted Facebook to request the ad be removed.

Senator Lombard said: “Social media is a powerful tool for political debate and we have seen that throughout this debate. However ads like this are supposed to be subject to very specific transparency rules - which don’t seem to have worked in this case.

“We hear a lot of talk from Facebook about their commitment to protecting elections here and around the world but they need to put their money where their mouth is now and take decisive action.

“Maria has put in a great campaign and is exactly the type of fresh voice Ireland needs in the European Parliament. This website, which is designed to misconstrue her hard work as an LGBTQI activist, is not what Irish elections are about.

“The website’s content is hardly worth talking about but the way it has been promoted on Facebook needs a full explanation from the company. 

“The Joint Oireachtas Committee has already done a lot of work in this area and this shows that we need to meet with Facebook on these issues again as soon as possible.”